Looking back to February 2020, we’d never have guessed how the rest of this year would pan out. We were all going about our daily lives, looking for interesting new ways to expand the services we offer at Eden Gate and even considering growing our staff team. No-one could have guessed what was about to unfold.
With the devastating daily news of so many lives being taken around the world, with businesses closing their doors, the vulnerable having to shield away from danger and with a rise of people experiencing homelessness with minimal support still running, it truly was a heartbreaking and troubling time.
Thankfully our team are passionate about serving those marginalized in society and we were able to work alongside two other passionate organizations (The Wallich and the Olive Branch). We were able to provide 3 meals a day to those who were placed in temporary accommodation during this time for the duration of lock-down. Many of these individuals were placed in hotels with no cooking facilities and therefore were extremely grateful to be able to receive hot and cold food parcels. Newport City Council did an outstanding job of providing a safe space for over 100 people during this time and even put together a community of modular pod type homes in the city center for those who would otherwise be rough sleeping. The Guardian recently published a post about this, you can read all about it here.
Many of those who were accommodated during this time are thriving and we look forward to the upcoming months/years where we watch them move into their own longer-term tenancies. The multi-agency approach to overcoming homelessness during Covid-19 has proved highly successful and we’re grateful to have been a small part of it.
So what happens now?
Well if we’re being honest, the answer is still quite unknown. Government guidelines currently state that Night Shelter floor-space is no longer an acceptable means of emergency accommodation however we hope that the restrictions to this are relaxed eventually. We’re following strict government guidelines and taking it one day at a time, we’d be very grateful for your prayers during this time.
In more positive news however, we’ve now reopened our drop-in services throughout the week! These occur on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday between 10am and 1pm. During drop-in hours we provide humanitarian care such as hot drinks, snacks, showers, housing related support and any other support needs. This currently is exclusively for those who are still rough sleeping however we also provide a take-out service for anyone in supported accommodation. Our drop-ins provide not only rest-bite for those sleeping rough but also the opportunity to socialize with our staff and volunteers who are always willing to provide a listening ear. We have close links with both healthcare professionals and mental health services and therefore able to signpost individuals to the relevant services.
We’re currently also in process of developing a brand new project. If you’d like to be kept up to date with more information about this then please consider subscribing to our mailing list.
If you know of anyone currently sleeping rough, please inform them our door is always open for support Monday – Friday 9am-5pm.
Matthew 25:35-36 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me